2ND FLOOR Kitchen & Bar, Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI)

The good folks of The Private Room Wine Bar and The Pawn Room Cocktail Bar have just extended the dining options in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) with the opening of 2ND FLOOR Kitchen & Bar. Located within the same shoplot but on a different floor, this new eatery serves a good variety of contemporary European offerings.

The deco of 2nd Floor is a bit of a quirky combo of bright tropical colors at the outer/al fresco dining space while the inner section is more sedate. A full wall mural featuring colorful flora and fauna greets diners amidst modern mix-and-match furniture.

 

Helmed by a young kitchen crew, headed by Chef Kelvin Wong, the team is not hesitant to work on dishes served with some creative twists and flair. Take their signature 2NDFLR Salad for example which works its charm from the delicately-charred Romaine leaves which leaves a delicious smoky trail on the tongue. Sprinkled generously with crispy bacon, crunchy croutons and a wobbly poached egg, this deceptively simple salad is a sure winner.

2NDFLR Salad (RM22)

The Crab Beignet is another appealing starter. Plump crab cakes encased in crunchy kataifi strands – what can be more irresistible? Especially when you get to dip them in some tangy citrus chilli jam!

Crab Beignet (RM28)

Being in the mood to indulge, the Goose Foie Gras certainly sets the pace. Thick cuts of foie, perfectly seared, are a joy to partake, particularly so when eaten with rosti and balsamic caramelised pineapple doused with some pineapple cream!

Goose Foie Gras (RM52)

Their star dish, something we have been looking forward to is the Grilled Iberico Pork. Perfectly grilled, with the centre still a juicy pink, every bite of the pork was tender and delicious. Don’t be misled by the size of the cut – it’s really a substantial dish with the caramelised Granny Smith apple, horseradish and potatoes.

The gorgeous Iberico!

Grilled Iberico Pork (200g)

Similarly, the Seared Duck Breast is good, paired with rosti, baby radish and nice lashings of jus spiked with cherry balsamic.

Seared Duck Breast (RM36)

For a spot of carbo, the Smoked Salmon & Erynggi Pasta (linguine) is more than satisfying. Cooked with white wine and made more delicious with lumpfish caviar and pangrattata, this is one pasta dish I’d return for!

Smoked Salmon & Eryngii Pasta (RM32)

Desserts – ahhh, so much can be said about the delightful sweets here. My favourite here is the Cherry Jubilee – a gorgeous ensemble of dark cherries soaked in gin, paired with vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with granola! Yes, I’m a huge fan of liquer-embalmed cherries and these did me in.

Cherry Jubilee (RM18)

The platter of Chocolate & Coffee comes recommended as well – a dreamy concoction of almond jaconde, chocolate cremeux and coffee ganache.

Chocolate & Coffee (RM22)

What we ate were from the dinner menu. The restaurant also serves brunch and lunch daily from 10.00am till 3.00pm based on a separate menu. So head on over to 2ND Floor – it’s one of TTDI’s latest culinary stars.

 

2ND FLOOR Kitchen & Bar
46A Persiaran Zaaba
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 019-914-8832

*Porky/Non-halal!

DIM SUM (pork-free) at Pullman Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Bangsar

If you are in the Bangsar neighbourhood and looking for a quiet spot to enjoy some pork-free dim sum, the Oriental Chinese Cuisine Restaurant is a good venue. Located on Level 1 of the Pullman Hotel Kuala Lumpur in Bangsar, this spacious restaurant spots some classic oriental furniture in the form of intricately-carved wooden chairs and ornately-patterned carpet. With plenty of natural light flooding in from the floor-to-ceiling glass windows all around, the dining environment is pleasant and comfortable.

Pork-free dim sum is served daily from 12.00pm to 3.00pm. The special dim sum menu lists a good variety, from steamed, deep-fried, oven-baked items to noodles, rice and desserts.

We tried several items from most of the categories, starting with the steamed dumplings. Besides the regular “siew mai”, the restaurant offers a few fancy variations like…

Caviar Lobster Dumplings

Foie Gras Siew Mai

Black Truffles Shrimp Dumplings

Tobikko Lobster Siew Mai

Don’t miss out their Shanghai Dumplings – “Xiao Loong Bau”… the wobbly plump dumplings pack a good amount of piping hot tasty broth within the thin skin!

Xiao Loong Bau

 

Steamed Beef Tenderloin in Oriental Sauce – this didn’t hit the spot with us.  Steamed chicken would have fared better.

Crispily-fried dim sum are always tempting and we couldn’t resist these…

Crispy Taro Puffs

Crispy Beancurd Prawn Rolls

Crispy Seafood Rolls with Cheese

Crispy Lobster Dumplings

The Wok-fried Radish Cake with Seafood could have been better, taste-wise as it was rather bland.

We loved the Preserved Vegetables with Roasted Duck Buns. Within these petite buns were some delightful filling of minced roast duck and “mui choy” – something we don’t find in other dim sum places.

Preserved Vegetables & Roast Duck Buns

Honey BBQ Chicken Buns

Green Tea Buns with Salted Eggyolk Custard Cream

Steamed rice rolls are always a must for us and we enjoyed the Cheong Fun with crispy “yu zha gui” rolled inside.

Cheong Fun with Yu Zha Gui

Cheong Fun with Fresh Prawns

There’s a pretty long list of desserts in the menu. Their signature Durian Pancake is a must-try for durian lovers. For me, I enjoyed all their chilled jellies – so refreshing!

Chilled Lemongrass Jelly with Osmanthus

Deep-fried Pancake with Vanilla Ice Cream & Peanuts

Chilled Durian Pancakes

Service is attentive and the dim sum items are only cooked upon order so you get your food piping hot.

 

ORIENTAL CUISINE RESTAURANT
Pullman Hotel Kuala Lumpur Bangsar
No. 1 Jalan Pantai Jaya, Tower 3
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 2298-1888

Fried Chicken & Champagne @ MONTE’S, Bangsar Shopping Centre

The next time you have a reason to celebrate and are not sure how to celebrate it – well, let’s keep it simple, shall we? How about just some scrumptious fried chicken and champagne? It’s really not as incongruous as you may think! Look, almost everyone loves fried chicken, right? That’s such a universal love, no? It’s comfort food and when done well, it’s da bomb!

A bucket of amazing love!

The folks at Monte’s in Bangsar Shopping Centre has got it just right. Using only the juiciest parts of the chicken – thighs and drumsticks only, their fried chicken here is served nicely propped up in a bucket. Coated in a light batter brimming with secret spices, the crispy golden skin is irresistible, trust me. Beneath that, juicy tender meat, just the way how good fried chicken should be!

Of course we had the Cheesy Wedges too!

And to accompany this delightful fried chicken meal – none other than some sparkling Moët champagne! I can’t even begin to tell you how good that chilled champagne tasted. It’s a perfect combo, fried chicken and champagne, I tell you.

Oh you can also choose to have either some salad or cheesy wedges to go with the chicken and champagne set.  There are 2 sets for you to choose from, depending on the size and appetite of your party:

VIP Chicks Package @ RM568+
1 bottle Moët et Chandon
1 bucket Monte’s Fried Chicken (12pcs)
Salad or Cheesy Wedges

or

VVIP Party Package @ RM888+
2 bottles Moët et Chandon
1 supersize bucket Monte’s Fried Chicken (18pcs)
Salad or Cheesy Wedges

You can also order just the fried chicken on its own, without opting for the champagne – I mean, if it’s a small celebration, hehe! 3 pieces Fried Chicken go for RM18.

Monte’s at BSC has been around for more than 10 years and is very popular in the neighbourhood. For such a long-serving establishment, there are quite a number of signature dishes that have been on the menu since day 1.

 

Fresh Oxtail Soup

The thick and savoury Fresh Oxtail Soup (RM23) is one of their top dishes and I can understand why. The soup is amazing, served piping hot and with well-balanced robust flavours. Eaten with some crusty bread, it makes an immensely satisfying meal on its own.

Escargots baked in garlic & chablis sauce

Then there’s Monte’s signature escargots baked in creamy chablis and garlic sauce to tantalise your taste buds. At RM28 for half dozen, this traditional French starter is sure to please.

Recently the culinary team at Monte’s has come up with some new dishes to add more variety to the dining experience here. Just take a look at these…

Corned Beef Scotch Egg

Corned Beef Scotch Egg (RM28+) with salad and gravy

Slow braised Beef Tendons with fettuccini and melted cheese! (RM38+)

Cheesebomb Fish Burger in tumeric cream and French fries (RM35)

Waffle Beef Burger with Cheese Wedges (RM38)

As for desserts, do check out their cakes of the day and if you see these two cakes available, grab some! At RM18 a slice, I totally loved the Salted Caramel Cake – my favourite!

Nutella Chocolate Cake 

Salted Caramel Cake

It’s always advisable to go with hungry stomachs as portions are hearty and because everything looks good, there’s a tendency to over-order too.  Now, here’s to the next celebration in Monte’s!

 

MONTE’S Bistro
Lot 112 Level 1 West Wing
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2094-1112
www.montesrestaurant.com.my

BEATS & BRUNCH @ LAFITE, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Weekends are meant for food and relaxation.  That’s why weekend brunches are a dime a dozen, almost every cafe/restaurant/hotel worth its salt has a brunch to offer in this city.  In the sea of masses, what do you choose?

You choose something that’s a bit different, a bit unique perhaps?  Then go no further than Lafite at the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur.  There’s a new concept of brunch at Lafite now on every first Sunday of the month, known as Beats and Brunch!  Starting at 12noon till 3.00pm, indulge on an array of “all you can eat” contemporary French cuisine with delicious entrées, mains, desserts and a la minute delights prepared by Executive Chef Olivier Pistre.  Oh did I say there’s also free-flow of Veuve Clicquot champagne, wines and cocktails?

Free-flow of Veuve Clicquot champagne!

Executive Chef Olivier Pistre

Executive Chef Olivier Pistre with Executive Pastry Chef Paul Gardin

Try all the cocktails 🙂

A mountain of Cadoret oysters!

Things also get jived up with live DJ music as I busied myself at the oysters counter where fresh juicy Cadoret oysters are replenished diligently.  These babies were really good, dripping with marine sweetness at every bite.  I think I had at least a dozen all by myself!

Cherries and strawberries were in season – lucky me!  They went extremely well with the oysters and champagne, trust me.

Cheese selection

The pace picked up as the service crew flitted around the restaurant topping up champagne, wine and serving endless plates of the chef’s signature appetisers such as cold cherry tomato shooters, eggs with smoked salmon, gratinated lobster thermidor, among others.

Lobster for brunch

 

You can be assured that your mains are always served freshly cooked as orders have to be placed for them.  The mains are 6 gourmet specials of Smoked Cohiba Grilled Wagyu Beef, Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder, Seared Hokkaido Scallops, Pan Seared Atlantic Cabillaud, Eggs Parfait and Grilled Octopus.

My personal favourite was the Seared Scallops – big fat Hokkaido ones seared perfectly and served with artichoke velour sauce.  Yes, you can have as many as you like and I think I had at least six of these!

Slow cooked Spanish Lamb Shoulder served with red onions, parmesan gnocchi, pomegranate gel and lamb jus

Grilled Octopus – Japanese octopus grilled and served with corn cream, Japanese black garlic puree and provencal sauce vierge (French sauce made from olive oil, lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, onions and garlic)

Smoked Cohiba Grilled Wagyu Beef – beef grilled and smoked with Cohiba cigars and served with cauliflower puree, lemon gel and oyster & seaweed emulsion

Pan Seared Atlantic Cabillaud – cod fish from France cooked a la minute and served with white beans ragout, baby squid and veal jus

 

Desserts galore!

Save some space for the desserts because you definitely do not want to skip those.  Besides the selection of dainty French pastries and cakes at the dessert counter, you can also order their specials: French Rum Baba and Chocolate Surprise.

French Rum Baba – sponge cake soaked in rum syrup, topped with Chantilly cream and served with pistachio sponge, raspberries and raspberry gel.

Chocolate Surprise – traditional dessert made with Sable Breton crumble (French shortbread cookies).  Presented with vanilla ice cream, chocolate ball, chocolate syphon, fresh blackberries and old chocolate sauce, it’s something to die for!

Chef Paul Gardin, Executive Pastry Chef making delectable ice-cream candies to thrilled diners

 

As mentioned, the Beats and Brunch affair at Lafite takes place on every first Sunday of the month from 12 noon till 3.00pm.  It’s priced at RM499 nett per person.

For reservations or further information, please call 03-2074-3900 or email restaurantreservations.slkl@shangri-la.com or visit www.shangri-la-specials.com

 

LAFITE
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
11 Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2032-2388

 

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SAPORE – authentic Italian & Spanish-Mediterranean Flavours in Ampang

What is “flavours” in Italian? SAPORE, of course and it’s an apt name for a restaurant that celebrates the authentic flavours of not only Italian food but also Spanish-Mediterranean favourites. Located in a quiet suburb in Ampang, Sapore Restaurant is the quintessential neighbourhood eatery that beckons with delicious comfort food and a relaxing place to just chill out with artisanal food and fine wines.

Chill and relax in this casual cosy space!

Owned by Chef Fabio Ruggiero, a talented chef who has turned Sapore into a popular venue serving a good selection of dishes prepared and cooked with passion. With his talent and vast experience garnered from various 5-star hotels in Italy and London and more recently, from Marini’s on 57, Chef Fabio’s creations are remarkable indeed.  Here there’s no fancy fine-dine stuff… diners come for the premium quality ingredients used unabashedly by Chef Fabio in his tasty dishes.

Freshly-baked focaccia studded with herbs and dried fruits

The regulars know exactly when to appear for their favourite specials, like the Paella Party every Sunday. I wondered if they had actually smelled the crazy good aromas from the bubbling rice and meats in the flat pan – they all came when the paella was just about ready to be served!

Watching Chef Fabio cook the Sunday paella, I could appreciate how hearty that big pan of deliciousness was. Chef Fabio’s version of this popular Spanish rice dish used Iberico pork neck to give it that robust intense flavour while the fresh prawns contributed a marine sweetness to the grains. True enough, once the paella was served, I couldn’t stop eating it, which is really crazy because I’m not a rice fan actually! The paella is usually ready by around noontime on Sundays.

You will be tempted for more of this!

If you come earlier on a weekend, then catch some of Sapore’s popular breakfast dishes. The Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon that we had was scrumptious – eggs done just right and so satisfying when eaten with the smoked salmon on baguette slices.

Breakfast/brunch on weekends!

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon (RM28)

When we spotted Guanciale Ham as one of the ingredients, we just had to order the Spaghetti Carbonara and it was an excellent choice especially when there’s also Pecorino in it!

Spaghetti Carbonara (RM28) with Guanciale Ham, eggs and Pecorino cheese

One of Sapore’s main attractions is their tapas, both hot and cold types. It’s quite the thing to do here…people love the tapas, cold cuts charcuterie, antipasti or just a selection of excellent cheese to go with their wines, beers or cocktails.

We checked out some of their tapas bestsellers…

Baby Octopus stewed with Tomato (RM22)

Spanish Green Olives (RM12)

Salad Beetroot & Queso de Cabra – goat cheese (RM16)

Artichoke & Sun-dried Tomatoes (RM18)

Anchovies marinated in Olive Oil (RM22)

Lardo (RM25) – Flavoured Tuscany Pork Lard

Jamon Iberico (RM45)

Salad Momotaro (RM15)

 

Do note that Sapore is open only from 2.00pm on Mondays to Fridays till late, 11.30pm. On weekends, it’s open from 10.00am till 11.30pm. So, if you find yourself feeling peckish and need some bites and drinks during this time, pop over to Sapore for some Italian, Spanish-Mediterranean love!

 

SAPORE
18 Persiaran Ampang
Desa Pahlawan
55000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 03 4266 6362

www.facebook.com/saporemy
Business hours:
Mon- Fri: 2.00pm – 11.30pm
Sat & Sun: 10.00am – 11.30pm 

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THE ST REGIS MACAO – why do I want to go back?

The St Regis Macao is one of the most memorable hotels I’ve ever stayed and it’s an experience I would certainly love to re-live. Without a doubt, the hotel is classy, elegant and spells luxury in every corner – and that is expected of The St Regis. Ever since the Astor family opened the first St Regis in New York in 1904, this golden standard stands steadfastly behind its branding.

But then there are so many luxurious hotels in Macao and many of them are very well known, too. So, why The St Regis Macao? Here are 3 good reasons why I yearn to go back to this great hotel…

 

 

The Location
The St Regis Macao is located right in the middle of The Cotai Strip, known as “Asia’s Las Vegas”. This dazzling city centre is home to some of the best brands in retail, gastronomy and world-class entertainment like “House of Dancing Water” which is just across the road from The St Regis Macao. This is a must-watch show when in Macao and is worth every dollar of the ticket price.

For a bit of luxury retail therapy, there are plenty of shopping to be done in the Cotai Strip – most of the hotels there have shopping arcades inside them. For example, the vast shopping arcade at the Sheraton Grand Macao and the well-known Grand Canal Shoppes inside the famous Venetian Hotel, just a short walk away from The St Regis Macao.

Shop till you drop at the Grand Canal Shoppes!

 

The Service
Impeccable service, as we all know, should be in the DNA of any 5-star hotel. One of the reasons why The St Regis Macao is known as a 6-star hotel is: not only does it have impeccable service, they are well-known for their personalised service! Yes, it’s more than just courtesy, there’s actually lots of sincerity and warmth in their service.

The stunning Reception counters

From the moment you step into the hotel, it’s as if you have come home, because every one of the service staff there knows you by name. Your butler attends to whatever requests you may have and every task is carried out professionally and discreetly. If you are not used to having your luggage unpacked, well, get used to it at The St Regis!

The lovely suites – pampered to the max!

 

The Food
Food at The Manor in The St Regis Macao was marvellous. The quality of the food was unrivalled and one of my best dinners was the degustation meal I had there last year.

How can one ever forget such exquisiteness?

Afternoon Tea, anyone?

And of course, The St Regis’ iconic cocktail, Bloody Mary!

I’m told that The Manor now serves a really lavish Sunday Brunch, an experience that’s certain to delight even the most discerning palate! And if you are a seafood fan, there’s all the more reason to book a table for this. The brunch features a sumptuous range of the freshest seafood, Boston lobster-themed dishes, prime meat and gourmet delicacies, along with free-flowing wines, punches and sangrias, juices and soft drinks – it’s the perfect way to enjoy a truly decadent Sunday afternoon with family and friends

Boston Lobster Thermidor – yes, you can indulge in these at the Sunday Brunch!

Have you ever tried an Italian Fassone Beef Fiorentina T-Bone?

 

Being the glutton that I am, it’s always the food that holds the dearest memories for me… so yeah, I do miss the splendid meals at The St Regis Macao. And if you are a food lover like me, you’d totally agree after a great meal there.  These are the main reasons why The St Regis Macao has had such an impression on me and I would so love to go back and re-live the splendour!  One can never have enough of such pampering 🙂

 

 

THE ST REGIS MACAO
Estrada Do Istmo. S/N
Cotai
Macau
Tel: 00853-2882-8898
www.stregismacao.com

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IMPERIAL DIM SUM BRUNCH @ CELESTIAL COURT, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur

There’s a reason why they call it the Imperial” Dim Sum Brunch at Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur (and not because of the hotel’s name!). The variety and quality of the items listed in the special dim sum menu sure measure up to a royal feast. Happening every Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays, this dim sum brunch is an excellent way to bond with family and friends over good food.

The dim sum dishes are all cooked upon order, so every dish comes to the table freshly cooked and piping hot. You can order as many times as you can stomach, except for the 3 “Luxury Crafted Delights” where only one serving is given per diner.

The 3 premium dishes are Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Mini Whole Abalone & Mushroom, Wok-fried Chilli Crab and Peking Duck Roll. While the soup was nutritiously comforting and the Peking Duck Roll was okay, it was the Chilli Crab that left a deeper impression. The flower crab was really fresh and sweet and the sauce coating the crab pieces was perfectly flavoursome. It’s the first time I’ve had chilli crabs at a dim sum meal and who says that’s not a good idea? I think it’s a brilliant idea!

Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Mini Whole Abalone & Mushroom

Wok-fried Chilli Crab

Peking Duck Roll

Whether they are steamed, pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried or baked, Chef Ken Liew ensures his array of traditional and innovative dim sum meets the mark. With more than 70 items to choose from, we pretty much had a hard time to narrow it down to our favourites because there were just so many dishes that we wanted to try!

The dim sum brunch not only offers dim sum but also a la carte dishes whipped up by Chef Ho Boon. There are soups, vegetables, poultry, seafood specials, rice and noodles to fill you up. Can you imagine the dilemma we were in when we were there recently?

Prawn & Banana Rolls with Wasabi Mayo

We started off with some of Chef Ken’s signature items like Seafood Grouper Century Egg Dumpling, Prawn & Banana Roll with Wasabi Mayo, “Ham Shui Kok”, Crystal Spinach Dumpling with Prawns & Scallops, Steamed Buns with Honey BBQ Chicken, Phoenix Claws with XO Sauce and Stewed Peanuts and Deep-fried Stuffed Chinese Crullers with Tom Yum Mayo.

Seafood Grouper Century Egg Dumpling

Ham Sui Kok

Steamed Buns with Honey BBQ Chicken

Phoenix Claws with XO Sauce & Stewed Peanuts

Deep-fried Stuffed Chinese Crullers with Tom Yum Mayo

Crystal Spinach Dumpling with Prawns & Scallops

 

We then chose some of the heavier a la carte dishes and we really had to choose very carefully as the selection held a wide variety. We zoomed in to these…

Sesame Prawns with Minced Nutmeg & Mayo


Deep-fried Chicken Wings with Preserved Beancurd


Smoked Duck Breast


Crispy River Prawns with Salt & Pepper


Beef with Ginger & Scallions


Braised Beancurd & Bean Puffs

 

We barely had stomach space for a carb dish but then we really wanted to try the Celestial Court Special Fried Rice which was a healthy combo of glutinous rice, black glutinous rice, brown rice, barley & white rice!

 

There’s a good selection of desserts as well and we had to limit ourselves to these…

Chilled Herbal Jelly with Honey Sea Coconut

Thousand Layer Cake

Osmanthus Jelly with Aloe Vera


Crispy Banana Fritters with Pandan Lotus Paste

Glutinous Rice Balls with Black Sesame Paste coated with Crushed Peanuts – my favourite!

 

The Imperial Dim Sum Brunch is priced at RM138 nett per person and RM69 nett per child (9-12 years old). So on weekends & public holiday when you crave for dim sum, head on over to Celestial Court and indulge to your heart’s content. It’s available from 10.30am till 3.00pm… hey, that’s 4.5 hours of dim sum bliss!

 
CELESTIAL COURT
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2717-9900

*Pork-free

website: www.celestialcourtrestaurant.com

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